I’m getting excited about a Christmas project we’re doing for our grandson Gavin who is almost three years old. We are buying him children’s books and making CDs of Papa and Nana reading the books. His folks asked us not to give him toys this year (he has so many already); with a mischievous grin said that he liked books. As if books weren’t my favorite gift in the world to give. As if. Curt said, “I get Yellow and Pink!” I’m still too delighted about the idea to make a decision on which books to read.
I try to read 50 pages a day. It’s a baseline I’ve decided on, just like trying to drink two quarts of water daily. During these dark winter nights I run into this problem…
by Billy Collins
The house is all in darkness except for this corner bedroom
where the lighthouse of a table lamp is guiding
my eyes through the narrow channels of print,
and the only movement in the night is the slight
swirl of curtains, the easy lift and fall of my breathing,
and the flap of pages as they turn in the wind of my hand.
Is there a more gentle way to go into the night
than to follow an endless rope of sentences
and then to slip drowsily under the surface of a page
into the first tentative flicker of a dream,
passing out of the bright precincts of attention
like cigarette smoke passing through a window screen?
All late readers know this sinking feeling of falling
into the liquid of sleep and then rising again
to the call of a voice that you are holding in your hands,
as if pulled from the sea back into a boat
where a discussion is raging on some subject or other,
on Patagonia or Thoroughbreds or the nature of war.
Is there a better method of departure by night
than this quiet bon voyage with an open book,
the sole companion who has come to see you off,
to wave you into the dark waters beyond language?
I can hear the rush and sweep of fallen leaves outside
where the world lies unconscious, and I can feel myself
dissolving, drifting into a story that will never be written,
letting the book slip to the floor where I will find it
in the morning when I surface, wet and streaked with daylight.